Fundamental physics with a state-of-the-art optical clock in space

Andrei Derevianko, Kurt Gibble, Leo Hollberg, Nathan R. Newbury, Chris Oates, Marianna S. Safronova, Laura C. Sinclair, Nan Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Recent advances in optical atomic clocks and optical time transfer have enabled new possibilities in precision metrology for both tests of fundamental physics and timing applications. Here we describe a space mission concept that would place a state-of-the-art optical atomic clock in an eccentric orbit around Earth. A high stability laser link would connect the relative time, range, and velocity of the orbiting spacecraft to earthbound stations. The primary goal for this mission would be to test the gravitational redshift, a classical test of general relativity, with a sensitivity 30 000 times beyond current limits. Additional science objectives include other tests of relativity, enhanced searches for dark matter and drifts in fundamental constants, and establishing a high accuracy international time/geodesic reference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044002
JournalQuantum Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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